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Don’t blame “My Prime Minister”

Dear Nic

I read with deep understanding your letter addressed to “My Prime Minister” published in The Beagle 17 January. I too lost my house and all its contents and over 60 years of art and memories that day.

I was born on 1 February 1939, 15 days after the Black Friday fires in Victoria. From the womb and from my mother’s recounting her experience pre and post my birth and for 15 years as a keen boy scout in the 1950’s and 1960’s in the beautiful country around Melbourne I have some history.

I purchased a lovely block in the bush of Lilli Pilli in 1970 and have holidayed at the coast from then to 2000. My wife and I purchased a beautiful western red cedar home on almost 9000 sqm in 2005 looking north to the Clyde Mountains on the edge of Catalina. In doing so we recognised that if a severe bush fire raced up the slope to our home it would certainly burn and it has.

We recognised the fact that the “Green” influence within Council and generally, clearing and burning to protect our home was not an option. We chose to enjoy the view and the environment and did so for 15 years. A benefit and now a cost!

I lost my wife of 54 years and friend of 62 years not quite 2 years ago. I thanked life for that wonderful experience. I did not blame the medical fraternity for not being able to save her, I counted the blessing that she had survived and enjoyed life from her first encounter with Breast Cancer in 1989.

Nic, I know you and have done so for many years. I respect your intelligence and skills but your house like mine burnt because of drought and abundant fuel. You chose to live where you did and protect the environment we both love. Don’t blame “My Prime Minister” nor anyone in particular. The climate is changing as it always has. Our pioneers and the custodians of our fortunate country and our flora and fauna have lived with that and adapted and evolved.

May I suggest you focus your considerable talent and energy on the desecration of our planet by overpopulation.

It is indeed sad that you and I have lost our homes because we wanted to live with nature.

John Haslem

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